How I Live: Kali Uchis

The rising soul singer’s daily routine: crystals, go-go boots, and lots of pink.

January 27, 2015

Kali Uchis, who was born in Columbia but lives in California, is what my mother would call "a real doll." When the ascendant soul singer and GEN F alum Kali Uchis stopped by The FADER office to play new music, I asked her to take a selfie for our Instagram. Her hair was bleached Hitchcock-blond and coiffed, her nails were painted in soft hues and perfectly groomed, and her outfit was painstakingly coordinated in shades of her favorite color: pink. She looked—and there's no other way to put it—iconic. Later, when I called her up for this edition of How I Live, I found out that her daily routine often includes thrifting, natural remedies, and crystals. I was surprised how little effort she says she puts into her seemingly labored-over aesthetic. How does she do it? Magic, maybe.


I wash my face with hot water. I don't really use any face products anymore because they make me break out. I like natural remedies. I usually put honey on my face. Sometimes, I put sugar in it so it's an exfoliant too. I add raw coconut oil, which is good as a face wash and a moisturizer. Sometimes I leave mayonnaise on the ends of my hair for a few hours while I'm writing; it's a really good moisturizer. My aunt taught me to do stuff like that because she's against chemicals. I use a lot of Aquanet, but I know that's bad for you. I heard about this thing where you basically boil oranges and you put it in a spray can, and the fruit's sugars make it all sticky, and it makes your hair stay in place just like hairspray. I've been meaning to try it, I just haven't done it yet.


I feel like fashion should really be an extension of how you feel and where you're at in your mind. Whether or not it's right, pretty much everyone gets judged by how they dress. Lately I've just been into '60s and '70s style because that was such a rebellious time. I love that era. I love colorful shit because it reminds me of Colombia. I think that's why I'm so drawn to LA, because everything has a lot of character and life and color. Everything's really vivid. I really love pastels: baby pink, periwinkle. Pink is just a really good color on me. Ever since I realized how good pink was to me, I've just been painting my nails the same baby pink color every single time. I don't switch it up. I fucking love pink.


I really love secondhand clothes. It's fun to turn them into something new. This jacket (pictured above), was two different jackets, and I sewed pieces of one onto the other to make them one. No one else will ever wear that jacket. I'm never gonna see anyone else wearing that shit. Seeing someone else wearing the same thing as me is a huge pet peeve. I change my style a lot just because it's nice to adapt different styles and get inspired by different things and not stay in the same place. But I've been into the monochromatic: wearing full one color outfits. I love to wear all white, I love to wear all pink. Or like wearing shit that's sets—I love sets. Playmates in Hollywood is slept-on. I get my go-go boots there. They have the sickest bathing suits ever. When I get money, I'm literally about buy hella bathing suits from the Playmate store.


My grandma (pictured above) is a witch, and my cousins are witches. They have a tribe, and they're very into that. I kind of took pieces of it from them, like, I know what phase the moon is in and if it's a good time to do certain shit, but I don't really practice the way they do. My cousin is OG about that shit, she has hella shrines; she has her witch friend come over once a week to do rituals to make her get money. They'll have a cup of dove's blood and all these candles—it's really wild. My grandma's crazy, too. She used to do exorcisms in the house with her whole tribe.

Shit like that is kind of superficial, but I do think it's really important to stay connected to nature. I don't really believe in doing spells that go against nature—like trying to make someone come to you, or make money come to you. Im into crystals, and good energy, and harnessing more. It's just like prayer. It helps you be grateful, think about good things, and keep that positive energy around you.


I believe in reincarnation because energy doesn't die. Energy never goes away, it just transfers into other forms. I'm not sure what I was in my other life. Sometimes, I think maybe I was Billie Holiday. She died on my birthday. When I was growing up, I always felt a deep connection to her and her music. I always felt very connected to it, like more than anything else, and then I found out she died on my birthday. I might not have even been a person, though. But you never know.

All images courtesy of Kali Uchis.

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How I Live
How I Live: Kali Uchis